Monthly Archives: June 2014

Don’t forget to tell her why she is great

One way people receive love is through words of affirmation.  (See previous post for thoughts on love languages).  What this means is telling someone something good about them through words…either spoken or written.  It’s always nice for someone to hear that they are loved, that they are special, that they are attractive, or that something they did was appreciated.  For someone who responds to and needs words of affirmation, you can never tell them these things too much.

photo 2Julia loves receiving words of affirmation, so I do my best to try to love her in this way.  She pretty much ALWAYS looks great, so it can be easy for me to take it for granted.  I try to remember to tell her so whenever I think of it.  But, as nice as looking good is…it really is minor in importance in comparison to other things.  So, I try to share things I think about her that are positive…affirming how good of a mom she is, telling her how proud I am of how she’s able to help other people, telling her how impressed I am when she has a great day at the gym or tennis, etc.  In addition to telling her with words, I like to send her texts or emails when I think of it.  I also love to leave notes around the house where she’ll find them.

photo 1My favorite was one day when I wrote out 40 different reasons why I loved her on small notes and hid them around the house.  I think there are still a few she hasn’t found yet.  I think it’s funny because when I leave notes around, my intention is just for her to see them that day, but then she ends up leaving them up for 6 months or so, because she doesn’t want to throw them away.  So, she ends up getting to see them a lot!

If words of affirmation are an important way that your wife receives love, make sure you’re doing what you can to fill her up in this way.  Here are some ideas:

  • Tell her when she looks good
  • Tell her when she has done something impressive
  • Thank her when she does something for you that you appreciate
  • Tell her how valuable she is and what a difference she makes in your or someone else’s life
  • Leave a note of something good where she will find it (or 20!)
  • Send her an email or a text message of something positive
  • Write her a handwritten letter and mail it

My challenge to you:
Evaluate how well you’re loving your wife in this area.  Regardless of what you currently do, think of some ways you can improve…and get at it!

4 rules to live by when your wife is out of town

I think Julia and I make a pretty good team.  We both pick up each other’s slack when we need it.  We do a pretty good job of distributing work around the house too.  So, whenever one of us is out of town for the night (or 4), it shakes things up a bit.  It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while Julia will be out for a few days (church retreat, getaway with friends, etc).  When that happens, I have a few rules that I always try to go by.

Eli with his dream dinner
Eli with his dream dinner

1.  Don’t rely on her to plan your meals:

  • If she’s going somewhere, she has plenty of packing to do and plans to make of her own.  The last thing she needs to worry about is what YOU’RE going to eat while she’s gone.  Go grocery shopping yourself.  Plan out your meals.  If you’re not used to cooking, try out some easy recipes, or at least plan some things you can pick up.  At any rate, don’t make your wife figure it out for you.

2.  Don’t make her feel guilty for going away:

  • It doesn’t do anyone any good if you make her feel guilty for being gone.  It doesn’t help you any and it only ruins her fun.  Let her know that you’re glad she’s able to go away and that you’ll be fine.  Let her know if you miss her, but don’t play it up so much that she feels like a jerk for going away for a couple nights.
IMG_0526
Bowling in the playroom

3.  If you have kids, plan something fun:

  • I’ll be honest, being a single parent even for a day or two is TOUGH!  I have the utmost respect for those that do it full time.  It is exhausting and I find it tough to give any of my time and energy to spending quality time with my son.  So, I have to force myself to make sure it happens.  No matter what, I always try to schedule some time for something fun for us to do (hiking, board games, dinner out, nerf gun wars, etc).  Even if it’s just a short period of time, I can see that it makes a world of difference to him.

4.  IMG_0373Have the house looking better when she gets back than when she left:

  • This is one of my favorites, and I take it as a personal challenge to see what I can get done.  Whenever Julia is gone, I try to do as much as I can before she gets back.  Vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, doing dishes, doing laundry, picking up stuff, random home projects, etc.  I don’t always get to everything, but I do my best.  Enlist your kids to help too!  She might not even always notice everything, but the last thing I want is for her to come back tired from her trip and be instantly overwhelmed by a dirty house and pile of stuff for her to do.

Road trip problems #husbandfail

from the blog www.stuckincustoms.comLast week, our family went on a road trip up to the Northeast.  It was a tiring but great week.  We spent about 35 hours together in the car, which was a lot, but we had a good time.  To help pass the time, I broke out 2 of my favorite road trip games from when I was a kid…which Julia had never played before.

To give you some background…we often took car trips when I was a kid.  In the age before portable electronics, we had to create fun and ALWAYS played 2 games…the ABC Game and the License Plate Game.  We loved games, and were often very particular about rules (to put it mildly).

ipad AZ billboardSo fast-forward back to present day…I explained how the ABC Game works: Starting at “A”, each person looks for a sign containing that letter.  Once you find it, you move on to the next letter.  The first person to “Z” wins.  Oh…and you can’t count letters on vehicles.  They have to be on billboards, signs, buildings, etc.  Why is that?  Because you just CAN’T!  You can NEVER use vehicles…the game just doesn’t work that way.

We played it as a family and had fun.  But, Julia thought my rule about no letters on vehicles was dumb…that it didn’t make sense…but she went along with it.

license-plates-01-0612-lgnLater, we started the License Plate Game, so I explained how it works:  Whenever you find a new state license plate, you write it down.  The goal is to look over the course of the trip and try to get all of them…Canadian provinces are bonus.  Oh…and you can’t count tractor trailers.  Why can’t you count them…even though they do have license plates?  Because that’s the way we’ve always done it!  It just makes sense because…(insert pointless reasons here).

Julia wanted to be able to use any plates we find and thought it seemed pointless to not allow certain vehicles.  But I pushed through adversity and made her see the truth…that my way was best!  I knew when we were discussing it that I was being ridiculous.  But, I felt so strongly about these rules that were ingrained in me that I stuck to my guns.  We continued the game, but I could tell there was tension.  On the trip back we talked about it some more and were able to air out how we each felt.

Here is what I learned:

  • There is nothing wrong with doing things “the way you always have.”
  • There is ALSO nothing wrong with doing things a new way.
  • There IS something wrong with being so stubborn that you refuse to listen to what your wife would like to do or consider her opinion or idea as valid.
  • It wasn’t the “rules” of the games that caused tension between Julia and me.  It was the way I was inflexible about something so trivial and didn’t care what she thought.

My challenge to you:

Don’t adopt an attitude of always sticking with YOUR way of doing things or pre-decided ideas.  Don’t assume or mandate that something be done your way, unless there is a REALLY good reason.  When your wife expresses a desire to do something differently, give it a shot…or at least discuss it!  You may find that you enjoy it even more.  As a result you may create your own memories and fun that are unique to you.

How to be fluent in gift giving

iStock_000014778365XSmallGift giving is one way some people receive love.  (See previous post for thoughts on love languages)  It can be something that is purchased or made that shows that you thought of them.  It doesn’t have to be huge or fancy, but should show there was a cost involved.  The cost could be monetary or in time or creativity.  And it should be something that the other person appreciates.

For me, gifts from my wife aren’t a huge deal.  My usual initial reaction is to think, “how are we paying for this?” which can put a damper on my joy unfortunately.  Julia feels love in a big way when she receives gifts though.  It shows her that I was thinking of her and she is THAT important to me to be worth the time, money, and effort it cost.  Because of this I try to give them whenever possible.  Ironically, I usually don’t enjoy giving presents as much on Christmas, her birthday, Valentine’s Day, or our anniversary.  I like to give them on random days just for fun.  That way, she knows I was thinking of her, not just following what “society” told me I needed to do.  A while back, I planned a whole week of presents and gave her one each morning as a surprise.  It was SO much fun.

If your wife receives love in this way, make sure you’re giving her gifts on a regular basis.  Here are some ideas…

  • Flowers (always a good idea)
  • Candy (or some sort of food she likes)
  • Framed picture (of you two or of the family)
  • A DVD she likes
  • Clothes you think she’ll like (with a return receipt just in case)
  • Gift card to a store / restaurant she likes
  • Vacation (my favorite gift to Julia ever was a trip to Italy…I told her 3 days before we left)
  • Household decoration (accent pillow, wall hanging, decorative vase, etc…something you think she’ll like…with a return receipt)
  • Utilitarian item that she has wanted (blender, cooking items, dustbuster, etc…something she has expressed a desire for)
  • A card that you made
  • Starbucks coffee

Any of these, if given in a way that shows you were thinking of her will help her to feel loved.  So, figure out what she likes and do it!

A major mistake that busy husbands make

During the day I work in purchasing for a wholesale distribution company.  I love it!  My boss is great.  I don’t have to travel often.  I feel appreciated for the work I do.  And one of my favorites…I am able to leave my work at work.  Meaning, evenings and weekends are mine, and I’m not constantly distracted by work.  Because of this, I feel that I get a lot of great quality time with my family.

I realize that many men don’t have this luxury though.  Some guys have to work evenings and weekends, and some have to travel often for their jobs.  So, the time they have at home with their family is very limited.  What makes it even more difficult is that everyone needs variety in their lives.  Men like to have time out with the guys.  They like to have sports they’re involved in.  They like to watch football.  So here is the danger…if you’re out of town a few days during the week, and if you have a softball game on Friday night, and you’re watching football most of Saturday and Sunday, and you’re using a lot of your free time to play video games…where is the quality time you’re spending with your wife and kids?

Your wife needs you.  She needs quality time with you for your relationship to grow.  She also needs you to contribute around the house.  If she is going to be responsible for all household responsibilities including taking care of the kids, and you’re not going to be around to pitch in at all, she’s probably going to be resentful pretty quickly.

BUsy-DadYour kids need you too.  If you’re getting home from work around 5:30, you only have a couple hours a day that you’ll get to see them and invest in their lives.  If you’re using this time to play on your computer or do things around the house, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity and responsibility.  And before you know it, they’ll be grown and gone and you will have missed your chance to invest in their lives.

So here is my advice…

If you’re not home much, make sure that when you’re home…YOU ARE HOME.  What I mean is…don’t check out, don’t always retreat into the man cave, don’t tell your kids you’re too tired to play, and don’t make your wife continue to take care of everything.  Be there physically AND mentally.

AR-304089926.jpg&MaxW=460&imageVersion=defaultIf you travel a lot, make it a priority to talk on the phone with your wife and kids.  Video call if you can.  Make sure they know they are a priority to you.  It can be tough when the schedule for your business trip doesn’t match the schedule of home life.  The effort is worth it though.

 

And if you are the guy who is involved in everything, maybe you need to cut back some.  Maybe you need to put away the flag football cleats.  Maybe you need to only need to have one fantasy sports team instead of 3.  Evaluate what is taking up all of your time, and see if something needs to be cut, so you can spend time on what matters.